During the full-day event at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on September 20, leaders from some of America’s largest travel, transportation, and technology companies joined government officials in explaining that as travel bounces, it evolves to meet changing consumer demands and environmental sustainability. Speakers explored issues critical for the next decade of travel mobility and the traveler experience, including sustainability, safe and secure travel, emerging trends, and innovative technology.
The event opened with a discussion between President and CEO of the American Travel Association Jeff Freeman and CEO and CEO of MGM Resorts International Bill Hornbuckle On the innovative sustainability measures taken by the Las Vegas tourism industry, as well as the short-term policies needed to lay the foundation for a stronger and more sustainable future for the industry nationwide.
While sustainable travel options, such as electric cars, are becoming more and more popular in urban areas, one of the association’s priorities is to expand access to charging to all areas of the country. In conversation with the fireplace American Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes, Foundation Holding President and CEO Chrissy Taylor He emphasized the need for an industry-wide approach to ensuring that electric vehicle infrastructure is available to all Americans.
“We need to make sure there is infrastructure in the neighborhoods where people live,” Taylor said. “Cargo operations and infrastructure must be equitable to everyone, not just the main lanes.”
Taylor lauded Enterprise’s rapid push to electrify its fleet of rental cars and familiarize its customer base with electric vehicles – an acknowledgment that electrification is the future of the rental car industry.
“Electric cars are here to stay,” He said Brendan Jones, President of Blink Charginga leading provider of electric vehicle infrastructure.
In addition to electrifying vehicles, automation has been a major topic of discussion. Jill West, Chief Operating Officer, CruiseA compelling video of his company’s self-driving vehicle ferrying passengers through the streets of San Francisco.
“It’s a wonderful moment in time to witness the birth of a new means of transportation,” West said.
Taylor’s calls for a more connected and sustainable travel industry were later echoed Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Adviser and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. In his remarks, Landrieu highlighted the role that infrastructure investment projects can play in creating jobs and strengthening communities.
“It’s not just about building the bridge, it’s about who’s building it, what it’s made of, where it’s going and what communities have access to it,” Landrieu said. “It’s about raising America and moving its generations forward.”
The Future of Travel Mobility conference also addressed the shift in consumer preferences as an imperative to promote more sustainable travel options. Panelists explained how companies’ environmental commitments and changing travelers’ expectations will affect travel, and how the industry can thrive in a more sustainable future.
“Travelers increasingly want to do the right thing when it comes to sustainable and responsible travel,” He said Sangeeta Naik, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and Marketing, American Express Travel. “Our customers demand this and they hold us all accountable.”
“Business traveler clients view sustainability as a decision point,” added Jean-Garris Hand, Vice President of Global ESG, Hilton. “Our corporate clients want to align with purpose-based associates as partners.”
It is especially important for the industry to implement more sustainable travel options as business trips accelerate. According to US Travel forecasts, a strong return to business travel is expected in the second half of 2022 through 2023.
Speakers at Future of Travel Mobility largely agreed with US Travel’s expectations that business travel, although slow to fully recover, would strengthen in the near term. in discussion with National President of the American Travel Association and President of Carnival Cruise Line Kristin Duffy, and CEO of American Airlines Robert Isom Definitively refute those who predicted that business travel would never return after the pandemic.
“You’re wrong, wrong, wrong when it comes to business and air travel,” Isom announced.
While demand for leisure travel is strong and near-term growth prospects for business travel are strong, US Travel is bracing for headwinds as the expected drop in demand – along with high inflation and fuel price volatility – poses threats to the industry’s future growth and its efforts to achieve greater sustainability. .
“As the industry continues to face obstacles to its full recovery, the Future of Travel Mobility Conference was a golden opportunity to advance critical policies for a more sustainable and innovative future of travel mobility.” Freeman said. “By bringing together travel leaders and government thought, we can ensure alignment on key issues that will make travel more globally competitive and sustainable for decades to come.”
The last speaker for today, Representative Sam Graves, MD, US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructureleft the public with something to expect: the FAA’s next reauthorization bill.
“We are taking information and ideas from stakeholders now, but we likely won’t start the process until early next year,” Graves said, hinting that the bill could crystallize by next summer.
Please click here to see the full agenda for the Future of Mobility While Traveling event.
To view a recording of the future of commuting while traveling, click here.
Additional photos of the event are available from the US Department of Travel Communications.
About the American Travel Association
The US Travel Association is a national non-profit organization that represents all components of the travel industry. It is estimated that US travelers will spend $1.1 trillion in 2022 (still 10% below 2019 levels). US Travel supports policies to accelerate equal recovery across the travel industry and restore economic growth and job growth to this essential contributor to our nation’s success. Visit ustravel.org for information and data regarding recovery.